Re: Sustainability (fwd) - from Anthro-L (fwd)

Patricia Clay (pclay@WHSUN1.WH.WHOI.EDU)
Mon, 13 Jun 1994 09:07:30 -0400

Forwarded message:
> From @UGA.CC.UGA.EDU:owner-fishfolk@MITVMA.MIT.EDU Sun Jun 12 19:13:08 1994
> Message-Id: <9406122313.AA02852@whsun1>
> Date: Sun, 12 Jun 1994 19:09:46 -0400
> Reply-To: Fisheries Social Science Network <>
> Sender: Fisheries Social Science Network <>
> From: Evelyn Pinkerton <pinko@UNIXG.UBC.CA>
> Subject: Re: Sustainability (fwd) - from Anthro-L
> X-To: Fisheries Social Science Network <FISHFOLK@mitvma.bitnet>
> X-Cc: Multiple recipients of list FISHFOLK <FISHFOLK@mitvma.bitnet>
> To: Multiple recipients of list FISHFOLK <>
> In-Reply-To: <>
> Dear Alan Finlayson:
> While you raise a good point in a general philosophical sense, isn't it
> the case that most status quo situations are NOT sustainable? The record
> seems to show that almost all fisheries, not to mention other resources,
> are currently overfished, and many in danger of extinction or already
> there. Real sustainability may be a radical conservative idea, as
> opposed to the kind of "laissez-faire" conservatism which often support
> the "free" market, or the domination by powerful vested interests just
> looking for the next resource to mine (or bankrolling smaller folk to do
> the equivalent, whether they know it or not).
> Cheers, and a plug for short messages to get more responses from busy
> folk who are channel surfing through their messages!
> Evelyn Pinkerton <>
> On Wed, 8 Jun 1994, Alan Finlayson wrote:
> > This critcal discussion of the concepts behind the feel-good word
> > "sustainability" is beginning to yield some very interesting results. Bill
> > Garber alludes to something that has been bothering me for a bit. This is
> > the curious fact that those who most strongly support some form of
> > sustainable [fill in the blank] tend to be also located somewhere to the left
> > of center in the political spectrum and yet the ideological foundations of
> > sustainability as it is most commonly and rather unreflexively advocated are
> > profoundly conservative. Sustainability is an essentially static concept.
> > It is about the preservation of the status quo and the prevention of change.
> > This seems to contradict one of the very few uncontested claims about the
> > social and natural worlds...that they are essentially dynamic and are all
> > about change. The really interesting thing in any time series of data...a
> > brief laboratory trial, the historical record, the fossil record, the
> > geological record, change--the emergence of something new. I
> > wonder whether the frustrating inability to come to grips with something
> > satisfyingly solid behind the word may indicate that this is not a natural
> > concept at all but the last futile gasp of the techno-utopian dream of
> > instrumental control of the socio-natural dynamic. Eh?
> > Chris Finlayson
> >